The rocker was speaking ahead of the landmark LP’s 30th anniversary tomorrow (September 24).
“I had heard some dubbed copies of some of the Sub Pop 7-inches that they had released, so I was aware of Nirvana before they set off their nuclear bomb,” he told Consequence Of Sound. “[‘Nevermind’] wasn’t as sludgy as [debut album] ‘Bleach’ was, but the songs were so refined at that point. And the production — Butch [Vig] did an incredible job on that album. It changed the way people thought about songwriting.
He continued: “The first time I got [the album], I must have worn it out for six months. I literally sat down and learned how to play every song on the guitar. I learned how to sing every song on that damn album.”
“It is one of the best hard-punk-fusion-pop albums of all time.”
The Foo Fighters frontman spoke about the classic single as part of NME‘s ‘Nevermind at 30’ track-by-track feature, which also sees the likes of The Killers, Lorde, St. Vincent and Biffy Clyro dig into their favourite cuts from the record.
“I remember writing ‘Teen Spirit’ in our rehearsal space, and I liked the riff that Kurt [Cobain] came up with because it’s percussive,” Grohl remembered. “Those muted, stabbing strums inbetween the chords really leant to the pattern of the drum riff.”
He went on to tell NME that Nirvana “were listening to a lot of Pixies” at the time, “it was ‘Bossa Nova’ [era]”. “We were just having fun, really,” he added.
Although he “didn’t know what the lyrics were”, the musician recalled how he “realised the power of the song” once Nirvana took it into the studio. “And not just lyrically or musically, but the groove of the song – it was really powerful,” he told NME.
“I think everyone was more focused on songs like ‘In Bloom’ or ‘Lithium’ or ‘Breed’; nobody really paid too much attention to ‘Teen Spirit’ while we were recording it. We just thought it was another cool song for the record.”
Meanwhile, the BBC recently celebrated 30 years of ‘Nevermind’ (1991) with a new film about Nirvana’s time in the UK. Titled When Nirvana Came To Britain, it can be streamed here via BBC iPlayer.